State hopes tweaks to Leeward Oahu contraflow lane will ease gridlock

State hopes tweaks to Leeward Oahu contraflow lane will ease gridlock

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The State Department of Transportation is making changes to its Leeward Oahu contraflow lanes in response to frustration from drivers about the pilot project.

Starting Friday, the Maili side of the contraflow lanes will be extended by 400 feet. The Department of Transportation says this will reduce the time drivers spend waiting to merge from two lanes into one.

"When we do that it's going to smooth out the merge for people to get into the contraflow, which should make it a lot easier and more efficient going into there," said Ed Sniffen, DOT Highways Deputy Director.

The contraflow is a pilot project by the DOT to alleviate rush hour traffic for west Oahu drivers. In the evening, Farrington Highway is contraflowed to create more lanes heading west into Nanakuli and one lane heading east.

Since it started earlier this week, drivers have complained that traffic is backing up at the contraflow, but the DOT says the overall drive time is improving.

"It's taking 11 to 14 minutes to enter and exit the contraflow in either direction. It was 30 to 45 minutes before to go into Waianae," Sniffen said.

In all, the DOT says drivers tell them the contraflow is saving them about 25 minutes of travel.

In addition to the adjustment on the Maili side of the contraflow, the DOT will block people from driving into the shoulder near Lualualei Naval Road starting Friday evening. Transportation officials will also prohibit left turns out of Nanakuli Beach Park, which will prevent drivers from trying to U-turn in the parking lot instead of at the designated U-turn area.

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